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Afghanistan 18, U.s. 10, Medicare 9, America 9, Conan 9, Harry Reid 7, Detroit 6, Diane Sawyer 5, Washington 5, Us 5, Simon Cowell 4, Abc 4, Nbc 4, California 4, New York 4, Simon 4, Chrysler 3, Darren 3, India 3, Atlanta 3,
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  WJLA    ABC World News Now    News/Business.  
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    January 12, 2010
    3:05 - 4:30am EST  

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that's part of the multiyear deal, palin will offer political analysis and commentary as well as occasionally hosting a new fox show called "real american stories." nbc's late night lineup is still up in the air as it awaits an answer from conan o'brien. the network is shifting jay leno back to his old time slot. the comedians seemed to take it all in stride last night. >> everybody now wants to know what my plans are. everyone's asking me. all i can say is i plan to continue putting on great show night after night while stealing as many office supplies as humanly possible. >> i take pride in one thing. i leave nbc prime time the way i found it, a complete disaster. >> fox executives say they're ready to welcome o'brien with open arms if he decides to leave nbc. they might be able to offer him an 11:00 p.m. time slot giving him a jump on leno and david
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letterman. >> the story everyone is watching right now. here to look at your tuesday forecast, another stormy day in the northwest. rain in washington, oregon and northern california, with a foot of snow around lake tahoe. mountain snow in montana and idaho, but milder for the rest of the rockies. light snow for the appalachians, great lakes and new england. >> frost and freeze warnings in the south. 28 in boston and 30s from new york to atlanta. upper 20s for much of the midwest. 54 in seattle, 43 in boise and 53 in sacramento. chilly aacross much of the country. >> you remember the a-team? who doesn't? on a mission to bring down one bad guy after another. >> 25 years later the tough vietnam vets are at it again. but thisime they've made the jump from tv to the big screen. 20th century fox released its trailer for the new "a-team" movie. >> action-packed the key word here. the movie will hit theaters in
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june. they could have cost mr. t. he still looks fabulous. >> he looks exactly the same. >> i bet in the movie they end up making something. they got holed up in a barn or something and bust their way up. >> we'll probably review that. medicare.
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new jersey is about to join 13 other states in allowing the medical use of marijuana. the state legislature has approved the bill and outgoing governor jon corzine says he will sign it before leaving of next week. patients with aids, ms and cancer can buy up to two ounces a month. new york city's mayor de something of a fra admission
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yesterday. mike bloomberg says when it comes to his food, he, quote, uses a lot of salt. >> it came as he was introducing a new campaign designed to drastically reduce the amount of salt new yorkers are eating. sandra buckman has details. >> reporter: it may be the spice of life but doctors say salt is also putting millions of americans at risk. 23,000 new yorkers die each year from heart attack and stroke. >> we know tha reducing salt in the diet can help save lives. >> reporter: that's the main reason the new york city department of health has launched a campaigthat encourages food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of salt they use by 25% over the next fiveyears. health officials say 80% of the salt in our diets come from packaged foods. most of us have no idea how much salt we're eating. a recent survey revealed that chain restaurant meals contained three and four days of sodium.
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chili's chicken fajitas 6916 milligrams. reaction to the city's salt plan was mixed. >> i believe it's a fabulous idea. but unfortunately, i was just diagnosed with a little hypertension. and it's all because of snack foods. >> if they want to order food that's high in salt because it tastes better, then they should have the right to do that. >> reporter: but mayor bloomberg insts this iabout doing what's right in the interests of public health. >> we're trying to extend the live of the people who live in the city. >> reporter: the reduction campaign isle voluntary. but they're hoping that it will convince restaurants to comply. in lower manhattan, sandra buckman, channel 7, eyewitness news. "the wall street journal" says they've been doing it for quite some time now. a lot of big companies reducing
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the amount of salt quietly and secretly. they've been using something that's like a salt flavor than salt. >> really? >> like a salt substitute. >> ealthy. i worry about the substitute because the substitute ends up sometimes being worse than the original thing. >> i want to know what they taste like, the difference. how far would you go to give your child a leg up in learning? >> the latest craze has some folks not even waiting for their child to be born.
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welcome back. if you ask a parent, my parent, they'll tell you they only want the best for their children, the best school, the best teachers, the best opportunities to succeed later in life. >> as david wright reports, for some, getting an advantage means
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taking action we before baby comes along. >> where is greenland? there it is. >> reporter: for tho who say you're never too young to learn, try plugging the search term "smart baby" into youtube. it may give you some doubts. >> where is russia? >> reporter: there you'll find plenty of brainy babies. >> what about indiana? >> indiana? >> nice job, buddy. >> reporter: kids will dazzle with geography. >> what's the capital of lebanon? how about malaysia. >> kuala lumpur. >> reporter: their parents pushing them every step of the way. >> warren harding. woodrow wilson. >> reporter: come to think of it, maybe there is such a thing as too young to learn.
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this woman is obviously pregnant. >> sounds good. >> reporter: she's already started trying to teach her new baby, before she's even born. >> i want to give her every advantage that we're able to. and you know, to a certain extent, i want her to be prepared for school as early as possible. >> reporter: using a device called baby plus. marketed as a prenatal education system. the motto -- your womb, the perfect classroom. >> i think i know where max is. i used it in my first pregnancy with my daughter and i'm using it with our second daughter. and the product claims to help babieself-soothe and come out of the uterus a little bit more calm. >> mommy! >> yes. >> i love you. >> i love you. >> reporter: she insists it works for giovanna, so why not for daughter number two?
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the device straps right on to the mother's belly for one hour twice a day. what does it do? >> it plays a sound that is simple and similar to the maternal heartbeat. and that encourages a child to discriminate. that discrimination over time strengthens learning skills for life. >> reporter: baby plus is just one of a growing number of products making similar claims, trying to cash in on the goodwill of parents who are interested in fetal development. among the claps here, you've registered a couple of them, more readily nursing. >> 97% of parents who utilize this, would use it again, recommend it to a friend and feel that it made a difference. >> i'm sorry. that's just crazy. it's just -- >> reporter: you don't buy it? >> no. nobody buys it. no scientist studies buys it.
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>> reporter: this developmental signingologist at johns hopkins university says there's no evidence whatsoever that a product like baby plus actually helps a developing fetus or that the fetal brain benefits from, quote, unquote, educational stimulus. >> what fetuses seem to respond to most are loud sounds, the vacuum cleaner, a rock concert, and just because they might get kind of jazzed up to those things doesn't mean it's either good or bad for them. >> reporter: when you hear the term "prenatal education" -- >> i cringe. i absolutely cringe. >> reporter: surely there must be some study that says this is good. >> surely there are no studies that say it's good. there are none. there are none. >> reporter: are there any studies at all. >> published in the prenatal psychology journal. it was small. my study has been with anecdotal evidence. >> reporter: so this hasn't been
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thoroughly studied? >> it's been studied, just not in long term huge clinical trials. that's what we're going toward. >> reporter: there's one study? >> one early study. >> reporter: but that hasn't stopped them from selling the baby plus. how much does one of these things cost? >> retail, $149. >> reporter: this year they plan to sell 20,000 of them. she says it isn't just that these products will make your baby smarter, she worries they could actually cause harm. the manufacturers insist they're safe -- >> would you like some cinnamon? >> reporter: she says its device regulates the output of sound to a level safe for a baby in utero. it may surprise expecting mothers to learn they' have to take the company's word for it. the government does not require them to meet any special product safety standards. i have to confess that i read -- i read to my wife's belly.
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>> close to it. >> reporter: fairly close, but not in a loud voice. the history of harvard. do you thing that will help? >> the history of harvard? will it get them to harvard? no. i can guarantee you that. >> reporter: in fact, i've noticed that if i now try to sing a harvard fight song, my 2-year-old has a curious reaction. >> tell daddy, no. >> reporter: too young to learn? perhaps. but i still have 16 years to try and change her mind. i'm david wright, washington. you know, critics are going to say that a lot of these parents are inclined to buy the baby plus are education focused to begin with, ambitious, so if their kids do turn out to be smart, how do you know if it's this device or the focus on education they had after? >> can't they just have a moment of sil nens the womb? they're going to be bombarded the rest of their life. >> we're sleeping in here. >> it's time for morning paper.
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we're talking about a case of hiccups solved after years. >> a medical miystery solved. assistance getting around their homes. there is a medicare benefit that may qualify you for a new power chair or scooter at little to no cost to you. stay tuned for this important medicare benefit information and free scooter guarantee. imagine... one scooter or power chair that could improve your may entitle you to pay little to nothing to own it. one company that can make it all happen ... your power chair will be paid in full. the scooter store. why should you call the scooter store today? because their mobility experts are also medicare experts. and that means the scooter store is your best shot at qualifying for a scooter that costs you little to nothing. hi i'm doug harrison. pay little to nothing out of pocket.
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awake again?
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"world news now" delivers your morning papers. >> we begin this morning with a medical mystery solved. you may remember a guy by the name of chris sams, a british guys who been featured in news reports. he came down with a case of the hiccups and it never went away. he tried everything to get rid of it. yoga, hip no therapy, acupuncture. nothing worked until he went to a japanese doctor who found that he had actually a brain tumor that was causing his hiccups. but even more serious than that. this tumor was actually threatening his life. thankfully he found this doctor. they performed surgery.
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they removed the tumor. now he's cured. no hiccups. the doctor was saying this tumor could have really turned into something serious and killed him. so needless to say, not only did it change his life, it really ended up saving his life. he said that this thing for three years nd of ruined everything. he couldn't work, he couldn't socialize. >> can you imagine all the stares you must get when you're constantly hiccupping. >> you're in a movie theater, everyone is staring at you. a medical mystery solved. >> here is something that's not a medical mystery but i'm surprised nonetheless that we were the first to find a very famous goat. i shouldn't say we're the first. but we didn't show you this video of darren the goat. now "britain's got talent" is clamoring to get this goat. his name is darren. let me show you what he can do. >> here he comes. say hi to darren. good boy. >> isn't that cool? yes, very cool >> they're saying any time
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someone comes up to the goat, he will wave right on back to him. "britain's got talent" they saw him. he's all over youtube. they wanted him for next month's live auditions in birmingham. the owners are saying it's a difficult thing on the goat even though he's eight years old. it is hard to fly him out to have him do a quick party trick. >> since when are they allowing animals on that show anyway? >> aren't you impressed? after seeing darren? >> knowing my luck, if i were on that show, i'd have to follow the waving goat. >> how do you top that? >> yes, exactly. here's another animal story. proof that dogs are man's best friend or in this case boy's best friend because in canada, an 11-year-old boy is alive because of his golden retriever by the name of angel. the two, the dog and the boy the dog ended up attacking the cougar, saved the boy's life.
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he suffered all these injuries. he's okay.
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racial remarks. the senate's top democrat apologizes again. >> i could have used a better choice of words. >> now for first time, the president weighs in. in the crossfire. abc's reporter pinned down by sniper fire with american troops who call this their day job. and coming clean. a tearful mark mcgwire admits he used steroids. >> i apologize to everybody in major league baseball. today was the hardest day of my fe. >> baseball fans react on this tuesday, january 12th, 2010.
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for years there had been whispers about mark mcgwire, but the retire slugger finally coming clean. >> we've heard so many "i'm sorrys" from him, but that didn't help the home run. >> there are those who will take exception to that. i'm eric horng sitting in for jeremy hubbard. >> i'm vinita nair. harry reid has apologized for his remarks about candidate barack obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. >> democrats say it's time to move on, but republicans are still demanding that reid give up his senate leadership post. >> reporter: good morning. washington continues to buzz over harry reid's remarks on the president's skin tone and speaking style. the president himself has come to his ally's defense. >> harry reid is a friend of mine. >> reporter: the president offered those words of encouragement to the top senate democrat amidst the storm of controversy over his quotes in the new book "game change." according to the authors, reid
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praised obama's electability as a light-skinned african-american, quote, with no negro dialect unless he wanted to have one. harry reid apologized privately and publicly monday. >> i've apologized to the president and everyone within the sound of my voice that i could have used a better choice of words. >> reporter: in an interview with the cable network, tv one, which targets an african-american audience, the president says reid's apology was enough for him. >> for him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me and for people to try to make hay out of that, makes absolutely no sense. >> reporter: republican chairman michael steele is among those in his party calling for reid to resign. >> whether he steps down today or i retire him in november, either way he won't be the leader in 2011. >> reporter: supporters are weighing in, too. including the attorney general. >> there's not a prejudiced bone in his i called him today to express my body.
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support for him, my confidence in him. >> reporter: harry reid was one of barack obama's earliest supporters. the president says he's a good man who's always been on the right side of history. rod blagojevich is also apologizing for his comments on race. saying the comment was, quote, stupid, stupid, stupid. he is sorry for claiming he is blacker than barack obama. the former governor said he was speaking metaphorically about his disappointment with mr. obama. >> i apologized for that stupid metaphor. the frustration that i expressed is very real. and again, i'm very sorry if i offended anybody by saying it the way i said it, which was a stupid way of saying it. >> blagojevich said he probably won't make amends directly to the president. mark mcgwire is making amends as well. 12 years after breaking the home run record he confessed to using sterds. it came of no surprise to many, including hall of fame voters who have regularly passed him
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over. as john berman reports, he is still looking for a future in baseball. >> down the left field line. is it enough? gone! >> reporter: when mark mcgwire broke that home run record, it was electrifying. but now we know when he broke that record he was cheating. in a statement released he said, i used steroids during my playing career and i apologize. there had been whispers about mcgwire and his bulging muscles for years but he dodged questions from reporters even congress in 2005. >> i'm not here to discuss the past. i'm here to be positive. >> reporter: an emotional mcgwire told the associated press he worried that being honest that day would put him in legal jeopardy. >> i'm throwing closest friends and other people that were with me, i'm putting them in something for some act that i did. >> reporter: in a statement baseball commissioners said being truthful is always the correct course of action. but the truth might be too late for hall of fame voters who have
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turned their backs on mcgwire. >> i don't think this is going to change the way people feel about mcgwire because it was widely assumed that he had used performance enhancing drugs. >> reporter: so why talk now? mcgwire was just hired as the hitting coach for the st. louis cardinals. and they want to put the past behind him, however tough that past might be. john berman, abc news, new york. former nba star jayson williams will go to jail in the death of his limo driver in 2002. he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and agreed to serve at least 18 months. williams had admitted to reckless handling of a gun that accidentally discharged, killing the driver. he had already been convicted of covering up the shooting and was awaiting retrial on a manslaughter charge. testimony resumes today in san francisco in a federal trial to determine the constitutionality of gay marriage. among the first to take the stand, the two same-sex couples who brought the suit. they're challenging california's voter-supported ban. just before the trial started, the supreme court blocked the judge's decision to allow
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cameras in the courtroom. new jersey is about to join 13 other states in allowing the medical use of marijuana. the state legislature has approved the bill and outgoing governor jon corzine said he will sign it before leaving office next week. patients with ailments like aids, multiple sclerosis and cancer could use up to two ounces a month. the south is unusually cold this morning with frost and freeze warnings in five states from louisiana to florida. the lingering cold snap froze just about everything in baton rouge yesterday including the louisiana state university lakes. they were covered in a thin sheet of ice as early morning temperatures dipped to a frigid 18 degrees. scenes we're seeing across the nation right now. here's a look at the tuesday forecast. another stormy day in the northwest. rain in washington, oregon and northern california, with a foot of snow around lake tahoe. mountain snow in montana and idaho, but milder for the rest of the rockies. light snow for the appalachians, great lakes and new england. . 28 in boston and 30s from new york to atlanta.
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upper 20s for much of the midwest. 54 in seattle, 43 in boise and 53 in sacramento. it looks like "american idol" is losing its star attraction. caustic critic simon cowell has decided to jump ship. >> the brutally honest judge who has been terrorizing contestants for nine seasons will leave "idol" in may to start a version of his show "the x factor." the new show will also air on fox with cowell acting as a judge and executive producer. >> cowell says he was offered a lot of money to stay on, but he says he wanted a new challenge. so who are we left with? we're left with randy. >> randy. paula is gone. we've got ellen degeneres. >> all the people on twitter are talking about this. of course, it's such a big decision. some have said that simon cowell is saying down the road that he would like to work with paula again. he adores her. >> that's right. >> so maybe we'll see them reunited. >> the show "the x factor." fox will have two "american idol" type shows now. it will be interesting to see. [ bottle one ] oh, great. mr. clean magic eraser extra power.
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world news anchor diane sawyer is on a tour of afghanistan right now. u.s. commander general stanley mcchrystal told her yesterday that he believes the u.s. is turning the tide in afghanistan. mcchrystal says u.s. forces are on the way to convincing afghans that the u.s. will protect them. we should also mention that three americans were killed in a firefight in southern afghanistan yestday. >> the enemy that u.s. troops are facing is well armed and able to take advantage of afghanistan's mountainous terrain. our bill weir went along on patrol for a firsthand look. >> reporter: like the rest of america, they'd rather be wahing football. but on this night, the men of 212 charlie company leave their mess hall big screen and suit up
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for a moonlight mission. they'll chopper into the hills above their outpost and hike down at dawn, hunting hidden weapons and enemy fighters. >> oh, yeah. [ bleep ]. >> reporter: waiting for their bird, the landing zone budges with humor -- >> we'll push down to the spur. >> reporter: last-minute instruction -- >> take the south side. >> reporter: and kevin, the post mascot. >> he should be ab to see you. >> reporter: the short flight drops in behind a hostile village where the company creeps into position. and then hunkers down to wait, ignoring a sky brimming with stars to study the shadows. dawn, and then a sweat breaks, as they drop into the jaw. working across boulders the size of houses, bushes bristling with thorns, just enough running
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water to make every step interesting. they begin searching the countless hiding spots up here. so this is it under here? >> yeah, right there. >> reporter: each one naturally fortified. >> look at this. you couldn't design a better fighting position if you tried. it's protected by 20 feet of rock on either side. a 500-pound bomb wouldn't do anything but ring your bell in there. so the best soldiers can do is mark these places with spray pain and lets the patrols find them easier from the road. also lets the insurgents know their spot's been found. >> reporter: trudging along on this mission, a half dozen members of the afghan national army. the faster the ana develops, the sooner americans can leave, so it is less than heartening that they always bring up the rear. as the rising sun lights the valley, squads that have split in the night rejoin. then crossing a peaceful terraced meadow with a goat
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herders a the only sign of life, it happens. [ gunfire ] charlie company is pinned down in a dry creek bed. shots coming from the same village they skirted hours before. >> this kind of attack is most common. it happens during what's called x-ville. that's the exit of the mission. >> reporter: i'm ready. we dash for cover. a civilian panting. a soldier casually sprinting, under 50 pounds of gear, no effort in his voice. they are young men but battle hardened. heeding the captain for a slow retreat but barking impatience at their afghan allies. >> hurryhe [ bleep ] up. >> reporter: the command center is watching via predator drone. while they direct artillery, the company heads into a village alley.
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and in the middle of it all comes approval from a local. >> go inside. >> reporter: the fight seems over. >> air assault firefight? can't beat it. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: but back down the alley, the rest of the squad catches fresh sniper fire driving them behind a cinder block wall to lay down cover fire for the afghan soldiers still bringing up the rear. after 30 minutes of fighting, a 500-pound bomb finds a taliban subcommander and four of its fighters outside one of their caves. the americans are only scratched and winded. another day at the office, huh? >> word. >> reporter: they walkown the hill, past the goats, some curious neighbors, enter their outpost, empty their chambers
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and exhale. in the command center sergeant sheahy pours the rocks from his boots and thinks of home. his youngest turned 5 today. and he wonders how this story will worry his wife. >> the wife i back at home. it is just as stressful for them as it is for us. it's really hard on the family. >> reporter: well maybe i'll make you a deal. in exchange for that stretch, why don't you look in the happy and say happy birthday to your son. >> happy birthday. >> today was actually pretty tame. >> reporter: today was tame? he hopes they sent the enemy a message, but charlie company won't know for sure until they head back out tomorrow and do it all over again. bill weir, afghanistan. remarkable access granted by the military. you really get a sense of what the soldiers and the marines are dealing with not just in terms
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of the enemy but the natural hazards. the rocks the size of houses as you saw in the rocker terrain. making the job that much more difficult. >> it really brings it home when you hear someone say that was a mild day also in terms of training. we should also mention there will be more reporting from afghanistan. tune in to "world news" with she'll be there yet again from afghanistan. coming up on "world news now." >> much needed momentum for an american carmaker taking home a big award in detroit. carmaker taking home a big award in detroit.
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welcome back. news from two hard-hit automakers. general motors say it may reopen some shuttered factories to build four mods faster. >> chrysler is set to hire more engineers and product development staff. those announcements came from the big auto show being held in detroit. >> auto companies are betting big that consumers are going small. >> reporter: in the race to come up with a car consumers will want, the auto industry is finding itself shifting gears from big to small. for each company, the road to recovery varies. >> we're really looking at old gasoline technology with a little bit of hybrid technology
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thrown in. that's what's going to rlly drive the success over the next year or two. >> reporter: troubles ran deeper for domestic automakers who for years focused on buying more brands and sabrating a consumer appetite for gas guzzling trucks and suvs that ended up being a bad bet once gas prices rose and a global recession set in. gm and chrysler were forced to take government bailouts and eventually filed for bankruptcy. in contrast, foreign car companies spent less time on branding. instead concentrating on fuel efficient and affordable cars with universal appeal as a simple mode of transportation. but now even they are experiencing a slump in sales driven by the recession and an oversaturated car market. toyota has seen their first profit loss in 60 years. >> the u.s. auto industry is not going away. it's getting smarter, it's getting more efficient, it's listening to its customer, and it's beginning to build the cars that people want to buy. >> reporter: the surprising victor so far has been ford. once focused on big trucks, they're now shifting their focus
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to the focus, a compact fuel efficient car packed with technology and safety features. but ford has competition from gm with the battery-powered chevy volt, which gets 50 to 60 miles to the gallon. honda has the insight and toyota, of course, has the prius. what will consumers buy? reporting for abc news, new york. this is really big news for ford. the first time in 17 years an automaker has won both of those awards. >> big for ford. a year of transition for them. they, as opposed to general motors and chrysler, did not take the government bailout. good news for ford. >> great news for them. happy folks at ford this morning. the fusion hybrid was named car of the year at the detroit show yesterday. >> ford's transit connect compact van was named truck of the year. only the third time in history of the awards that one automaker won both of those awards. >> yeah, just like we were saying. we want to remind you that we really love reading your
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e-mails here at "world news now." wnn@abcnews.com. >> be sure to include your name and where you're from. and where you're from. there's so much to learn. i just shut down. but liberty walked me through it all ...like when i test ...at ght or after i eat ...makes a big difference. vo: a good diet and testing your blood sugar regularly can help you manage-even reduce-the risk of complications. vo: that's why liberty offers accu-chek aviva meter, that lets you test right the first time. vo: if y're over 65, have diabetes and are on medicare... vo: ...call now and we'll send you a free meter. vo: it offers alternate site testing, so you can test on your arm. no more pricking your fingers. vo: and to make it even less painful, the cost of your diabetes testing supplies may be covered by medicare. vo: join over a million others who have chosen liberty medical. vo: call now and receive a free accu-chek aviva meter.
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♪ finally this half hour, the seemingly never-ending aftermath of that white house state dinner back in november. >> the so-called third crasher is speaking out. while the couple who showed up uninvited are the subject of a criminal investigation. >> reporter: a federal grand jury is being asked to decide if the alleged white house gate crashers are trespassers. among the witnesses prosecutors will question is this hairstylist who spoke to
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michaele salahi. at a toeb tony georgetown salon. >> i had asked her, i said, do you have an invitation? she said, yes, i do. i said, can i see it? she tried looking for it. she couldn't find it. >> reporter: another suspected gate crasher, carlos allen, says he hasn't been subpoenaed before the grand jury. he showed his invitation, though it had no name on it. >> i received it in the mail. and i went to the white house to be an actual guest at the actual state dinner. and i used that invitation to get in. >> reporter: the secret service says from our sources we can find no record of an official invitation from the white house. secret service can find no record tt a background check ot a check was made on everyone else that was officially invited. >> the real question is for the white house and secret service as to how they came up with their official list. more importantly, why are they saying that my client has done something wrong as opposed to
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looking internally? >> reporter: allen, seen looking around as he entered the white house, says he wasn't nervous. he was excited. >> i looked around. i was like, hey, it's time to go party. >> reporter: allen was waved into the white house after he caught a ride with an indian delegation at a washington hotel. now they may get an official invitation to meet the grand jury. interestingly enough, allen was seated at the same table as gma's robin roberts at that dinner, and robin actually did the interview yesterday on "good morning america" with him. she asked him if he was able to produce any sort of official invitation or document with his name on it to prove that he was invited and he said that he couldn't. >> he said he removed all the web postings about all this because there was a frenzy surrounding the salahis. he felt like their faces were everywhere. in his defense, he didn't want to create any more embarrassment for the president, which is wh he sort of stood in the back shadows, not coming forward initially. >> this is a situation that will
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continue for a while. it's not over yet. >> we'll hea
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inside afghanistan. diane sawyer with america's top commander as the troop surge begins. >> have you done it? have you turned the tide? >> i believe we're doing that now. >> plus talking to afghans about what they think of us. emotional testimony. the trial begins that could eventually decide the future of gay marriage in america. and channel changes. simon's out, sarah's in. but what about jay and conan? >> the earthquake was so powerful it knockejay leno's show from 10:00 to 11:35. >> we'll sort it out on this tuesday, january 12th, 2010. so many changes in the entertainment world to talk
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about this morning. >> the landscape looks completely different than it was a week ago. >> yes. between entertain machine and news and late night tv. you'll hear all that coming up. to stay with us. good morning. i'm vinita nair. >> and i'm eric horng. in for jeremy hubbard who is on assignment. today a new strategy in afghanistan. the troop surge he promised is under way. >> with it comes the inevitable losses. yesterday alone six nato troops were killed, three of them americans. abc world news anchor diane sawyer is in afghanistan. she asked general stanley mcchrystal, the architect of that surge, what progress has been made and at what price. >> reporter: have you done it? have you turned the tide? >> i believe we're doing that now. we changed the way we operate in afghanistan. we changed some of our structures. we are on the way to convincing the afghan people that we are here to protect them. >> reporter: do americans have to brace themselves for 300 to 500 casualties a month in the
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months to come? >> i think americans and all our coalition partners need to understand that this will be difficult. i won't predict casualty numbers, but i do believe that there will be a difficult struggle with the insurgency in the months ahead. >> general mcchrystal says he and his troops are spending more on the second pillar of the afghan strategy, which is mingling with the afghan people themselves. the people of afghanistan see a brighter future for themselves despite eight years of this war. >> it comes from a new poll conducted bybc news and its partners. here again diane sawyer. >> reporter: 70% of people in this beleaguered nation say afghanistan is heading in the right direction and believe their lives and those of their children will improve in the near future. "i want a house" says this woman. "and i belve i'll be able to get one." their view of the united states? more complicated. 68% say they support the american troops in afghanistan now.
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and they agree with president obama's recent troop surge. "they bring us security," says this woman. but eight years of disappointment in america's performance has left overall approval of the u.s. at only 38%. so what about the enemy, the taliban? our pollshow they remain extremely unpopular. they say, we have bad memories of the taliban. while embattled president hamid karzai is ridi his post election wave of hope. polling in afghanistan is daunting and dangerous. abc news and our partners here sent 168 pollsters out all across the country door-to-door taking the pulse of more than 1,500 people. asking them about ordinary life here. for instance, that covering for women, the burqa, should it be the husband's decision or hers? in this untry, a split decision. women say they should decide.
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the majority of men say it's the husband's choice. this woman added perspective. "my husband's not the problem," she says. "it's the taliban i'm afraid of." and sometimes small signs of progress. 60% of our polls say they have cell phones. every single one of you? but 85% of them say they have no refrigerator, and in this poor country, few have hope of such a thing. and one more sobering number. more than half of afghans say they have never been to school. >> you can see more of diane's reporting from afghanistan on a special edition of "world news." there's unexpected fallout from senate majority leader harry reid's racial remarks with then-candidate barack obama. many african-americans are saying that reid's observations were actually correct. >> reporter: at a power plant in
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apex, nevada, the embattled senate majority leader was contrite. >> i've apologized to the president, i've apologized to everyone within the sound of my voice that i could have used a better choice of words. >> reporter: president obama says that waenough for him. >> this is a good man who has always been on the right side of history. for him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that, makes absolutely no sense. >> reporter: many prominent african-americans we spoke to were offended by reid's words but many also said his observation was correct, that americans in general find lighter had been sk lighter-skinned african-americans more acceptable than those with darker skin. >> as an african-american who is light skinned with the so-called curly hair that represents my proximity to white culture, i'm treated far differently than african-american people with natural hair and darker skin.
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>> reporter: numerous studies indicate that lighter-skinned blacks are more likely to be elected to public office and be hired. one tufts university study found that both whites and blacks associate darker-skinned blacks with poverty, aggressiveness, lack of intelligence, lack of education and unattractiveness. >> the comments attributed to senator harry reid represent in my opinion an unfortunate truth, but we are talking about having a racial problem that is an american dilemma that we ignore at our peril. >> reporter: retired general colin powell has said that among the reasons for his success in a largely white world are, quote, i speak reasonably well like a white person and, quote, i ain't that black. the administration is apparently trying to head off a growing public backlash against those massive wall street bonuses. under a new white house plan banks would be charged a fee in an effort to recoup the losses from the bailout of the financial and auto industries. the new york attorney general is pressing the nation's eight
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biggest banks to reveal how much they plan to pay employees in bonuses. the head of the second largest teacher union is announcing plans to tie teacher evaluations to student achievement. randy weingarten will lay out the plan in a speech this morning but she will not call on states to link student achievement to teacher pay. walmart is pulling children's jewelry made in china off its shelves because of a potential hazard. the move comes aer an associated press investigation found chinese manufacturers were using the heavy metal cadmium in the jewelry. it can cause cancer and can impede brain development in young children. the head of the consumer product safety commission is warning asian manufacturers about the hazard at a meeting in hong kong today. mark mcgwire has finally come clean. steroids in his career including the 1998 season in which he broke roger maris' single season home run record. many people suspected the truth but mcgwire had continuously
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denied it. the st. louis cardinals have now hired him to be their new hitting coach and mcgwire wanted to make a new start. >> i apologize to everybody in everybody in major league baseball. my family, the marises, bud selig. today was the hardest day of my life. >> mcgwire retired as a player in 2001. baseball didn't ban steroids until one year later. now here is a look at your weather. frost and freeze warnings from new orleans to south florida. rain from northern california to washington state. heavy snow in the sierras and some snow in the northern rockies. light snow from michigan to northern new england. and a few showers in south texas. >> 51 in dallas, 31 in kansas city, 30 in omaha. 20s from fargo to detroit. 35 in new york. 38 in atlanta. 50s in the pacific northwest and a warm 74 in phoenix.
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the world's cheapest car is all revved up to impress america. >> the $2500 tata nano is on display near chicago en route to the detroit auto show. made in india, the nano was designed to comfortably fit a family of four. a very small family of four apparently. it gets 50 miles per gallon. in the city and 70 on the highway. >> a normal-sized indian family means four could fit in that car. it has a strong steel frame and the same safety glass as any other car on the road. $2500. not bad. >> so it will be three years before it makes it perhaps to the u.s. market. it has to pass safety standards and whatnot. >> having gone to india quite a few times, these are all over the road in india. so we welcome it in america. hotwire.com knows the secret to an excellent getaway. get a four-star hotel at a two-star price from hotwire
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check this out. a massive sink hole in florida swallowed a shed and nearly took down a house. the hole opened in less than two hours yesterday. engineers speculate that the recent pumping of water to protect citrus groves from the cold may have caused that sinkhole. in california, a high profile case iolving gay marriage moves forward today. >> it is the first time a federal court is being asked to decide if the constitution's equal protection clause makes it unlawful for states to ban gays from marrying. >> reporter: opening day of testimony features a gay man from burbank who pleaded for equal treatment. paul says he loves his partner jeff more than himself andants to marry him. before the hearing, the two men and the lesbian couple challenging proposition 8 in this historic trial, says the same-sex marriage ban is wrong and illegal.
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>> we're all americans who simply want to get married just like everyone else. we believe in our constitution. and that the courts will lead the way to equality li they have so many times in the past. >> reporter: chief u.s. district judge vaughn walker, a republican pointee, pepped both sides with questions asking for evidence on whether the constitution grants gays the right to marry and if states have a reasonable right to deny those marriages. california voters narrowly approved the same-sex marriage ban in november 2008. and attorneys defending traditional marriage see the line of questioning as a good sign for their side. >> clearly, the big issue in this case is going tbe the role of the courts and the rights of the people ultimately to make decisions in the democratic process ando be able to have their vote counted. >> reporter: the case is expected to become a landmark that will likely be appealed to and decided by the u.s. supreme court, which has slightly more conservative justices. shelly and ellen of woodland used to think it was better to
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wait until the balance tilted more liberal, but after watching state support this effort -- >> there's no right time to go to the supreme court nor is there a wrong time. the time is now. >> reporter: this case was supposed to have been the first federal trial in california to be telecast to the public via a delayed posting on youtube. but an hour before the trial, the court blocked it. a win for prop 8 supporters. >> we're concerned about our witnesses and their safety. we're concerned about the safety of their families. >> reporter: interestingly david boies and ted olson are representing the two-same-sex couples that are suing. they were counsel in the bush versus gore case that ultimately gave george bush the presidency. when we come back, time for your tuesday skinny. >> there's so much to talk about in television both comings and goings. about in television both comings and goings.
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supposedly we're moving to 11:30. even this is not true. my people have said, conan's people have said, nbc said they wanted drama at 10, now they got it. everybody's mad. >> come on, we got to go, please. ladies and gentlemen, please, you keep that up and this monologue won't start till 12:05. ♪ the skinny >> at least they can poke fun. >> yes, at least they can laugh about it. this late night shuffle getting messier and messier and nbc stands for nothing but chaos these days, i think. jay leno going to 11:35 will push conan to 12:05. but there are reports that conan is not going to take this lying down. that it's becoming increasingly likely that conan will go to perhaps fox for his own show starting at 11:00 p.m.
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a couple things in play here. it's interesting. his contract has an out that if nbc doesn't maintain him in that 11:35 spot, he can leave and nbc actually has to pay him $45 million. >> wow. >> and that he doesn't make $20 million a year with fox or another network, nbc has to make up the difference in that salary. so in terms of money, he can leave and still make tons of money. >> that's interesting to me because we heard so much about how leno's ratings are bad. you have to look at conan's also. in the time he had the show, he lost nearly half of leno's audience. there are a lot of questions had these guys been there longer could they both have figured it out and been successful at these time slots? but right now fox is saying they're not confirming that they're in talks with conan. >> well, fox is -- we know that fox sort of has been talking with them. maybe officially they haven't said anything, like you said. but it's looking like some of these folks in the conan camp are saying it is looking more and more likely.
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the "new york post" quoted one source inside the camp saying that at this point conan would rather just go elsewhere. >> it would be a huge loss. there are so many conan fans. so many leno fans. both guys are hilarious. speaking of people with fans, simon cowell. first, paula, now simon. >> what are they going to do without him? >> i don't know. because i don't think the show will be the same. the good news is that "the x factor," his other show, will launch in 2011. he says cause of launching "x factor" this was the last season on "american idol." they talked about ellen coming on the show. she was making a joke saying she is decideing not to take it personally that simon has now decided he's leaving. >> simon cowell just announced that he's leaving "idol." this will be his last season. and he announced he's leaving on my first day. i'm trying not to take it personally. >> you know, eric, a problem that you and i know so well, money is not the issue.
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cowell is saying that "american idol" did offer him a lot of money. the rumor is something like $36 million. he was already making on "american idol." but he really believed in "x factor" and wanted to bring it to america. >> needs a new project. >> what about "american idol" without simon? they got to have a mean one. maybe that's what jeremy is doing. >> so many other television shows, will it cannibalize the audience? in other television news, sarah palin is going to fox news. apparently fox news does not have enough conservative commentators. there's a shortage of them. sarah palin has inked a three-year deal to be a contributor on fox news. no word exactly how much they're going to pay her. the network is remaining mum on that. but you can imagine it's a pretty good-sized amount. she's making a lot of money from her book. >> it has been a good year for her. a lot of people are saying this won broaden her political base. but it will strengthen her
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support among conservatives. which is what a lot of people are pointing to right now. >> in addition to her facebook posts, now we can see her on fox news. >> and we'll be hearing more about hockey moms and pitbulls and lipsticks and whatnot on fox. so big news with "spider-man 4," i didn't even realize that there were talks that they'd be launching another "spider-man." >> i thought this would be "spider man 6." >> the talks are off right now. now they're going to delay it. it would have had the same director and tobey maguire. they're going to do an all-new spider-man with a new director and new cast and new script. and it's supposed to come out in 2012. other news in case you were looking forward to the broadway musical, "spider-man" has been pushed back until the fall. right now they're ying it would have been the most expensive musical in broadway. but it had financing problems which is sort of a common theme that we're hearing right now. >> a musical, that seems like an
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odd genre. >> maybe a web set to music. not buying it?
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now for some stories to watch today on abc news. secretary of state hillary clinton is in hawaii where she's set to deliver a speech on u.s. relations with asia. on an earlier stopover, she said new sanctions are necessary against iran. her island visit is the start of an eight-day trip that will take her to new zealand and australia. a funeral will be held in delaware for the vice president's mother. jean biden died last week at the age of 92. the president and first lady will attend. the woman who risked her life to help anne frank's family and save the now famous diary has died. miep gies was the last surviving member of the group that hid the frank family from the nazis during world war ii.
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she was a christian who worked for anne frank's father and held on to the diary after the family was captured. on her 100th birthday she said she was not a hero and did what she could to help. miep gies was 100 years old. a remarkable life. earlier we heard diane sawyer's reporting from afghanistan. >> in addition to speaking with the commander of u.s. forces there, diane has also been asking question of afghanistan's children. >> you might be surprised by what she found. take a look. >> reporter: they pore throu the garbage. 60,000 to 70,000 of them in one city, kabul, alone, hoping for something to sell on the streets. but these children know there's a big country far away that sent in a lot of troops. these 10-year-olds tell us america must be beautiful and green. and people play volleyballn the fresh air. there were even two girls wearing new york knicks jackets. >> does she know who the new york knicks are?
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>> reporter: no idea. their faces out of a dickens novel. many without shoes and socks. a boy in the back pipes up -- "i want a home and money." >> i want to be a teacher. >> reporter: this is a group of girls rescued by a charity called afghans for tomorrow. what do you think of america? >> it's good that americans come here. >> reporter: and when we ask the children, do they think american children look different from them? they had an answer. they said, they bet american children are always smiling. >> just a heartbreaking response to hear. >> so young and they've already seen so much. >> such a reminder to all of us all the things we take for granted so often. those basic dreams, those basic desires. to hear them say, we're not even
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allowed to have those dreams, it certainly is sad. >> that's the news for this half
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